I found out about BABA Souk through artist and designer Emeline Villedary who is my go to decor expert. When I asked her to help me design my home office, she recommended a carpet from BABA Souk. I know, Baba-who? Not only did I LOVE the idea, but I fell for the entire aesthetic, and the story of owner Stephanie Hebert. She quit THE day job to start her own business which involves travel to Marrakesh in search of handmade treasures that she sells on-line. But how about I let her tell you…
What is your background? I studied graphic design at university and then worked as a fashion designer for a Canadian retailer for about 6 years. I used to design clothing and travel for trend research.
What is your vision for BABA Souk? I’m trying to create an inspiring brand. We are a proud alternative to everything “made in China” and we love to offer a more thoughtful, meaningful and positive way to shop.
Describe the BABA Souk aesthetic. Somewhere between Happy-Bohemian-Hip-Colorful-Fun
Do you mood board? Do I mood board? OMG it’s my favorite thing ever, you should see how many secret boards I have on Pinterest, it’s just insane. I pin so many things, ideas, inspo, things I want to do, shooting ideas, decor ideas, inspiring quotes. I used to pin like a crazy lady. Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time these days but it’s still something I really love to do. I could pin all day and be perfectly happy.
What can people expect from your products? They can expect a treasure, handmade with love by an artisan from Morocco or an emerging artist.
Why should I buy a carpet from you vs. a big box store? Handmade carpets are so totally different from manufactured carpets. Moroccan carpets are true pieces of art, when you find one you love, you’ll cherish it your whole life.
Where do you travel to find what you sell? My husband was born and raised in the Marrakesh souk market. That helps a lot! He has his own career but he and his family help me a lot with my business. I usually go to Marrakesh once or twice a year to visit our family and select new products for the shop. After 4 years, I’ve developed great relationships with the suppliers and artisans I work with. I think this is key to building a successful business.
Do you work with local artists? Yes, I do work with local artists. I don’t exclusively work locally but I try to do so whenever it feels right. I also love to work with artists that are willing to create exclusive products for BABA Souk. I so love to see an idea come to life. I can’t help it. I seem to have 99 ideas every day. It can be a bit overwhelming.
What was your favorite vacation ever and why? Do I really have to pick between Bali and Marrakesh? Bali because everywhere you look, you see beauty. And Marrakesh because it is so different and magical.
What has surprised you about owning a boutique? It is so much work! I initially thought it would be fairly easy. Wow, was I naïve!
Who took the photo of you? Her name is Caroline Perron, she’s super sweet. She immediately understood what I wanted and was super patient. I’m awfully shy and awkward in front of a camera.
Who does all your site photography? I still do most of it.
You say you left your job to follow your dreams…how did you know what your dream was? Hmm, that’s a good question! We all have many dreams. At that time, I wanted to create an online souk and so I went for that dream and worked really hard at it.
How do you select each piece? Honestly, for me, picking and choosing is quite easy, I either love something really bad or I’m indifferent. If I love something, I just go for it.
Do you offer decorating services? At this time, we don’t. But we might eventually.
How do we incorporate the BABA Souk “look” into our home if your style is different? If you love a specific piece you see, I think you should dare to buy it. Even if it doesn’t “match” everything you already have. Eclectic pieces that are loved are really what gives personality to a home. It’s like your own collection of treasures, I’m not really into matchy matchy 😉
Do you think the global design look is here to stay? How do you see it evolving? I’m glad it’s super trendy right now but global has been around forever. I personally love to mix global with modern and give it a little edge.
Describe a typical day. Oh boy. Waking up as early as possible, taking care of my baby, bringing him to daycare, work work work, try to tick off as many items on my extensive to do list. Getting inspired 5 times a day, having too many ideas but not that much time. Run to pick up my baby, make dinner. Try to have a fun evening with my family. Read a bedtime story. Work a bit more. Go to bed exhausted but happy!
Why do you like living in Montreal? I love the diversity. The parks, the streets, the food. I even like the metro.
How do we sign up for the newsletter? You can sign up right here.
Who is Miss Cloudy and what seminars are coming up? Miss Cloudy is a really creative lady, she’s an origami pro and she has so many other talents. You should check her website. We have a cookie workshop coming up and we’ll host another weaving workshop in January. We’re currently working on our workshop program for 2017.
How do you care for a BABA souk rug or carpet? It depends on which type of rug. We have care instructions in our product descriptions that will guide you.
How do you know what size carpet to buy? Honestly, size is not that much of a big deal for me. It really depends on where you want to place your rug. In my opinion, first you fall in love with a rug, then you find a place for it!! It’s like buying artwork!
Who designed your site? I did, with the help of a programmer. (I’m not so good with code!) But I must admit, being a graphic designer can be helpful when starting a business.
Are the carpets soft? What do they feel like? Wool rugs like Azilal or Beni Ourain are the softest. They are super comfy. Boucherouite are not that soft but they are still amazing with their many many cuttings of recycled fabrics. They remind me of impressionist paintings.
Can you roll a chair over them or would you not recommend them for an office? No, they’re a bit thick for rolling a chair. I’d say they work best in living rooms, hallways and bedrooms. They would look awesome in an office lobby! Our rugs are statement pieces. This is something I love to say to someone looking to add interest to a room: “All you need is a Moroccan rug”!
How heavy are they? Boucherouite rugs are the heaviest. I’d say about 8 kgs, depending on the size.
Thanks Stephanie! xx